Boardroom friction at JD Wetherspoon?

Boardroom friction at JD Wetherspoon?

Analysts have reacted with concern after UK pub group JD Wetherspoon said that both its chief operating officer and finance director were to leave the company.

Finance director Keith Down and COO Paul Harbottle are to step down "in due course", the company announced today (14 October). It did not give a reason for their departure.

Some analysts reacted with concern to the news. Richard Taylor, of Liberum Capital, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying that the move "is likely to add to concern over Wetherspoon’s trading performance ahead of their Q1 trading on 4 November".

John Hutson, chief executive of JD Wetherspoon, will take on Harbottle`s responsibilities as chief operating officer on an ongoing basis. Kirk Davis, deputy finance director, has been appointed interim finance director.

Another pub company, Stonegate Pub Co, was today forced to deny rumours that it has poached Harbottle and Down, according to a report by the Morning Advertiser.